Pizza boxes among items not welcome in recycling bins

Posted at: 12/09/2013 7:38 PM
Updated at: 12/09/2013 8:12 PM
By: Jen Samp, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Many people just received their blue recycling bins in the last few months, but as more people use them, a new problem is emerging. Apparently, pizza boxes are holding up the lines.

Employees in the sorting line at the Freedman Recycling Company in the North Valley say they see 50 to 100 pizza boxes in just their shift alone. What many people do not know is that these boxes cannot be recycled, causing a hold up in the line.

"When there is too much contamination then it has to slow everything down then the material starts to pile back up," said Bobby Sisneros with the Solid Waste Management Department.

The grease and food in the boxes spoils the other material in the recycling process.

Sisneros says nearly 180,000 recycle bins have been given to their Albuquerque customers.

"We are sitting at 11 percent contamination rate. Which means without all of the material that comes through the freedman facility about eleven percent is garbage, pizza boxes--just things we cannot accept."

Sisneros says that is still below the national average, which is an 18 to 20 percent contamination rate.

Even in the city's beginning stages, the message has been well received.

"Recycling in Albuquerque is taking a dramatic turn in the last six or seven months," Sisneros said.

With the holidays coming up, the city wants you to know things such as wrapping paper and foil containers used to cook turkey cannot be recycled.

For a list of things you can recycle, click here.